Three parties in talks on forming a new Czech government have agreed on not setting a target date for adoption of the single European currency the euro. Negotiators for the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs said they had also reached accord on loosening the rules for contract work, changes to taxation with regard to invoices, and postponing the introduction of electronic road tax tags. The parties say they aim to reach a deal on forming a centre-right coalition by the end of the first week of July, five weeks after general elections. The Social Democrats came first in those elections, but look set to go into opposition.
A former police officer was killed in Brno on Monday evening after an assailant opened fire with a machine gun on the car he was driving. The attack occurred near the victim’s home, at a spot where he had to slow down. The news website novinky.cz reported that he had been a member of the police’s financial unit and later a detective, before entering politics, standing for the party of former prime minister Miloš Zeman in elections last month. During his time on the force, the man had worked on bankruptcy cases linked to judge Jiří Berka; he is now in prison after being found guilty of criminal conspiracy. Police are searching for the gunman.
Czech President Václav Klaus is planning to attend a congress of the Civic Democrats, a party he founded but later quit, ihned.cz reported. The news website said Mr Klaus would make a speech at the conference in Prague on Saturday, a day before a new leadership is elected. Petr Necaš, who is heading talks on forming a new coalition government, is standing for the post of chairman of the Civic Democrats following the resignation of Mirek Topolánek. President Klaus established the party in 1991 but quit it two years ago, after a dispute with Mr Topolánek.
A Prague tram travelled for around half a kilometre without a driver after suddenly taking off at a depot in the city’s Motol district on Tuesday evening. The driver had stopped in a section without an electric current overhead and got out of the tram, which then started moving of its own accord, breaking through a gate and entering tracks on Plzeňská St. It passed through two stops before operators managed to stop it by turning off the current in overhead wires. The driver chased after the tram, injuring himself slightly as he tried unsuccessfully to board it while it was moving. Police and inspectors from the Prague transport authority are investigating the incident.
Part of the fortification at the Špilberk castle in the Czech Republic’s second city Brno collapsed on Wednesday. Nobody was injured when a section of the western part of the castle walls measuring around 15 metres in length fell, evidently due to subsidence related to recent heavy rains. There are fears that more sections of the ramparts could collapse; concerts that were due to take place in a park beneath them will now be held elsewhere.
The National Czech and Slovak Museum in the US city of Cedar Rapids has taken a significant step towards a USD 16-million planned move and expansion, the Chicago Tribune reported. The museum has signed a USD 1 a year lease with the Cedar Rapids authorities that will allow it to move to municipal land located on higher ground. It is currently at a temporary location in the city’s Czech Town district, after its original home was badly flooded in 2008. The National Czech and Slovak Museum is set to reopen in 2012.
The Žluté lázně summer recreational centre by the River Vltava in Prague is celebrating 100 years since it first opened its doors, on June 16, 1910. Popular with sunbathers and swimmers, Žluté lázně contains several restaurants and bars, as well as sports facilities. The resort enjoyed booms in the 1930s and 1960s, when it was popular with the city’s social and cultural elite. It fell into disrepair, before being reopened five years ago.
Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker is set to attend the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which gets underway in just over two weeks’ time. She has edited all of director Martin Scorcese’s movies since Raging Bull. Schoonmaker has won three Academy Awards, for Raging Bull, The Aviator and The Departed, having been nominated six times. Among other guests at Karlovy Vary this year will be the UK actor Jude Law.
The crematorium used in the filming of the classic Czech movie The Cremator has been declared a national cultural monument. Juraj Herz’s 1969 film, which starred acting great Rudolf Hrušínský, was screened at the 1920s Rondo-Cubist crematorium in the east Bohemian town of Pardubice as part of a day to celebrate its new status. The Cremator, which combines elements of drama, comedy and horror, was banned in Czechoslovakia for two decades; it was only screened again after the fall of communism.
Promising young Czech soccer player Matěj Vydra is about to sign with Udinese, the newspaper Sport reported. The 18-year-old striker joins the Italian Serie A club from Czech side Baník Ostrava, where he made a big impression in the second half of last season. Sport said Vydra would put pen to paper after a medical at Udinese on Thursday. The Italians are set to pay around EUR four million for the youngster, which is around seven times what Baník paid the Czech second-tier club Jihlava for him last January.